One of the Center for Disease Control’s main coronavirus prevention tips is to avoid touching your face. And honestly, it sounds easy enough. Just stop doing it, right? Not really. The average person touches their face 23 times per hour, and it’s really hard to interrupt an action we take without even realizing we’re doing it. Seriously, try it for an hour and see how long you can go before you reflexively reach up to wipe your eye, rest your chin on your hand, tap your lips in thought, or scratch an itch. Training yourself not to do something that’s almost as automatic as breathing is much easier said than done.
Wearing a plastic face shield is an easy way to stop this habit in its tracks, but most of the ones you’ll find for sale at your local drugstore or on Amazon are bulky, uncomfortable, and too hazy to see through. A different version aims to be as comfortable as wearing glasses while offering protection from potentially infectious droplets and interrupting mindless face touching.
“Blocc” covers all the major avenues for infection on your face, working as a barrier when you reach for them. Unlike a conventional face shield, which uses foam and a headband to cling to your face, Blocc rests on your ears and nose. It doesn’t quite extend all the way past the chin, but its bubble-like shape makes that unnecessary.
It might seem like a face shield worn like glasses would make it impossible to actually wear glasses underneath it, but the design actually leaves plenty of room for most frames. Just remove the Blocc’s nose rest to accommodate them. The ergonomic shape also makes it easy to wear when running or riding a bike.
3D printed out of clear polycarbonate, Blocc is designed for everyday use by the public, not for healthcare or laboratory settings. It’s easy to wash with soap and water so you can use it over and over again. Though it’s no replacement for a mask, it’s a great supplement, especially for people who have to interface with the public for work and need some extra protection.
The face shield’s creators explain that “our team is based in South Korea — one of the first countries to be hit hard by the pandemic. We often noticed people wearing masks and habitually touching their face out in public. After looking into this further, we found that the average person subconsciously touches their face 23 times an hour (source: https://bit.ly/2APII4I) and that this is an innate habit very difficult to break. Therefore, it only seemed logical for us to create a face shield that would block (hence, the product name) the hand from touching the face.”
“We noticed that some people had already been using them, but none of them seemed to look comfortable or well-designed. This is why we decided to make one ourselves — one designed for the average person to wear in public without feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable. Our sincere hope is that Blocc will help you become wary of your face-touching habit. With your help, we can make Blocc a reality.”